Wednesday, February 28, 2007

CNY Loh Sang Dinner

The KL Penguin Runners and friends gather at Sin Lok Restaurant, Ampang Park this evening (Wednesday 28 February) for a Chinese New Year loh sang celebration dinner.

Other than running, it is a good idea to enjoy good food during this auspicious occasion. It was indeed a joyous evening for the runners to gather and dine together. The food here is excellent.

The day before was Josie Yap’s birthday. She runs a few half marathons. She works in Hong Long Bank.

Let us have another exciting year ahead taking on more marathons and trekking challenges.

Josie Yap's birthday falls on 27 February.
Yes, Loh Sang together... the higher the better. Holding the camera (and not chopsticks) is KC.
One for the album.
Standing (L-R): Marvin, Tony, Steven, ChinYH, Weng, Eric Teo, KC Leong.
Seated: Chan Wing Kai, Josie Yap, Lai SB, Jason Chin.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Never Give Up

It was indeed a good idea to have the auspicious housewarming on Chinese New Year days. Together with other Pacesetters members, I was invited by Teresa Goh, a Pacesetters Club member, to her new house in Bukit Julutong, Shah Alam on Sunday 25 February.

Before I went, I detoured to a fruit shop to buy some fruits. Otherwise, I would be going with only two combs of bananas (empty handed). Excitedly, I started my travel at 5:00 p.m. and I followed the direction given to me by Kesab, a Pacesetters Club member also, over the telephone a few days ago. Kesab assisted her in contacting the runners for this gathering.

Traveling at Federal Highway from Subang Jaya heading towards Shah Alam, I took a left exit at Batu Tiga and turned into Guthrie Highway. I saw the extra big signboard “Bukit Julutong, 200 Meters”. Seeing the first roundabout, I was quite excited and I proceeded further. I have not been to this new affluent housing estate before. After traveling quite a distance, Yes, I was on course. Immediately, I saw two more small roundabouts. Oh No! It did not tally with the direction given by Kesab.
Note: Pix is extracted in random from Internet.

I was lost. I wanted to ask the residence there for direction but the area was deserted of people on a Sunday late afternoon. I saw a lady casually cycling along the road. After reading all the "beware" emails, I better not to approach her. Otherwise, in her eyes, I would be the bad guy trying to rob or harm her.

I practically drove around quite a vast area of Bukit Julutong housing estate. From Section U8/100, U8/95, then U8/23... but I was looking for U8/13. One unique feature of this new housing estate is that there are many roundabouts – big and small. The small ones are just the length of a MPV. However, I did not see any restaurants. All houses are tastefully designed and well built with neat surroundings decorated with plants and trees. The property there must be good for investment.

Along the way, I called Kesab again. SK Goh, another Pacesetters Club member, assisted to give direction. The confusion arose because of many roundabouts and I was not in sync with what they thought my location should be.

It must be a coincidence that the song “Baby Give it Up” sung by KC and the Sunshine Band (note: not Runners) was heard over the airwave in my car. “Na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na… Baby give it up… Give it up… Baby give it up.” That was the first time that I nearly wanted to give up of locating my destination -- not because of the persuasion from the song.
Note: Pix is extracted in random from Internet.

After a few distress phone calls to Kesab to fine tune my location, I finally reached Teresa's house at 6:30 p.m. with a lot of help from Kesab. That must be my record: one hour looking for the correct destination.

When Kesab alighted from his Honda car, I was surprised to see that he is walking with the help of crutches though he could drive car. He met an accident while crossing the busy Duta Highway on one Saturday morning when training with other Pacesetters runners for Bangkok Marathon on 26 November 2006. Thank you very much for your help, Kesab.

Teresa's house is a new double-storey bungalow surrounded with land. The garden is well-kept and lined with plants and neatly trimmed grass.

I saw many familiar Pacesetters members: Tony, Agnes Chin, John Tan, Wai Mun, Raymond, Chan Wing Kai, Mr. Lee and wife, Wan Yew Leong, Lok and Agnes, Jason Thiang and Sook Ying, Jenny Lim and husband, Dr. Lyou, Jenny Lee, Tammy.

I chatted with Dr. Lyou who ran the Ocean-to-Ocean Race in Thailand on Sunday 11 February. According to him, it was quite tough running in the hot afternoon as the entire journey started from sunrise and finished at sunset.

When runners meet, there were just too many things to talk. Everyone was engaged enthusiastically in the conversation.

At around 8:00 p.m. we bade the host farewell. Going out of the housing estate was easier as I just followed Jason Thiang's MPV all the way to the highway. Otherwise, I would lose my way again – this time, at night.


Sunday, February 25, 2007

Klang Gate Ridge Challange

It was raining on Friday 23 February when I traveled to work at 8 a.m. I thought we were lucky that it rained a day earlier and not on Saturday as Wendy and other trekkers would take on another challenge to climb up Klang Gate Ridge again.

While I was driving in the direction towards Batu Cave that morning, it rained at around 6:15 a.m. Looks like the Year of the Boar brings in abundance of things – lots of rainfall (sound like wealth in Cantonese) even on Chinese New Year days and soaring share market prices.

The pack: Wendy Tan, Rose, ChongYF, PK Chan, Chef Chan, Chef Chin and I.

Wendy chose Ridge #2 (across the stream) as PK and Rose, both Pacesetters runners, were first time trekking up Klang Gate Ridge. Ridge #1 is deemed dangerous as there are more steep slopes and the trails are very close to cliff.

As usual, Chef Chan and Chef Chin wore only running shorts. Five minutes in the climb, while Chef Chan was busy walking, they detected one hungry leech was firmly clinging on to Chef Chan’s muscular legs hiving its fix of energy drink.

Chef Chin commented that the first person is the safest as the leeches were just been stirred from their slumber. The risk increases from the second trekkers onwards. Since I was the second person behind Wendy, I felt quite safe from attacked by leeches.

Being runners, the fitness level was no problem to take on the tough climb where both hands were required to pull oneself to higher levitation. However, all new climbers have to overcoming the common obstacle – fear of height – and that can only be achieved through constant exposure or training.

Mid-way into the ascent, we could see that the Klang Gate dam was covered with dense mist. It gave the feeling that we were above clouds. With cool breeze gently blowing, it was a pleasant experience that worth all the effort for the climb.

There was lots of laughter when the always cheerful Rose was around. While engaging in the dangerous 50-feet vertical height climb assisted only by rope, I could hear the “he he ha ha” sound from her while I was keeping silent busy focusing in my climb – albeit a little nervous.

As usual, Wendy was boiling water and making drinks at the peak and this time, we have the choice of Milo, Nescafe, coffer or tea. While admiring the scenic surrounding, the sunlight was strong and glaring at 9:30 a.m.

One can tell whether a trekker is new or an experienced one in this field. During the descent, one of the trekkers was a few meters behind me. Occasionally, I could hear the sound similar to a heap of clothing being dropped down and I have to raise my head to see what actually happened just in case any of the trekkers slipped – the landing was not smooth.

No matter how hard I tried while descent, I was always slower than Wendy. Chef Chan, the pro, was disappeared much further down the ridge. They were swift in action. Most of the time, Wendy would just sit there – like a sifu waiting for the apprentices – looking upward and waited for us. It was just like running – the fast and the slow runners. Climbing a ridge requires guts and skills. Somehow, being a runner after running for too long time on the plain, I have the phobia when ascending and descending vertical steep slopes.

While crossing the same stream, the rock obstacle, which took us a while to traverse at first, was seemed effortless to cross after undergoing a much tougher terrain.

Overall, it was a challenging climb that took 3.5 hours to return to base. I was completely drenched with sweat while both my hands were shaken a little with the hard pulling to maintain balance during the climb. Any person who can tackle the climb at Klang Gate Ridge would be able to trek other mountains – with ease.


Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Gong Xi Fa Cai

Next posting: Sunday 25 February.
Gong Xi Fa Cai

Wishing you a Happy and Prosperous Chinese New Year.

May The Year of the Boar bring good luck, good fortune and good health to us all.

To the runners: May you run faster, further and with more gusto.

To the trekkers: May you expand your horizon, trek bigger mountains that span across the globe.

It is time for me to "sou kong" (stop work) for posting work in the weblog and enjoy the celebration in this festive season. Similar to building construction workers, they "sou kong" a few days before and after the Chinese New Year days. So, web construction "worker" like me will follow suit too.

Have a relaxing and enjoyable Chinese New Year break. For those who "balik kampung" (going back hometown), have a pleasant journey.

Gong Xi Gong Xi

KC :-)
Greeting cards are from Wei Kim's and Julie Teoh's emails.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Le Tour de Langkawi 2007

Please click here to view 168 great photos taken by Jason Lee.

Press F11 key to expand viewing area; press F11 again to return to normal view.
Date: Sunday 11 February 2007
Time: 3:00 p.m.
Venue: Kuala Lumpur Criterium (Dataran Merdeka)


Monday, February 12, 2007

Sir Cliff Richard in Concert

The audience was clapping hands and singing along enthusiastically. Almost everyone in the concert hall knew how to sing the song, Bachelor Boy.

… He said son you are a bachelor boy
And that’s the way to stay
Son, you be a bachelor boy until your dying day …

Immediately at the completion of the song, the entire audience broke into loud applause amid pockets of wolf-whistle sound.

“I heard that in South-East Asia, the Koreans are very good singers,” said Sir Cliff Richard. “But the Malaysians are better!” That remarks drew cheers and resounding round of applause from audience.

Then one small boy went to the front of the stage to present a balloon in the shape of a heart to Sir Cliff Richard. While bending his body to accept it, he said: “Yes, he sure is a bachelor boy!”

Yeah, the Peter Pan of Pop returns to thrill Malaysians and yours truly was in the concert at the Arena of Stars in Genting Highlands on Saturday 10 February evening, the second and final concert of Cliff Richard’s Here World Tour 2007.

The Audience

At 7:15 p.m., the concert hall was empty. According to schedule, there were only 45 minutes to the start of show. Through my past experience of other concerts, the hall would be half filled by then and there would be lots of noise from the audience.

Fifteen minutes later, the crowds began to throng into the hall. The stream of audience flowing into the hall was non-stop. The audience was mostly above 35 years old. There were at least five fans that came in wheelchairs from my side of the entrance.

For the young ones, they were mostly accompanying their parents. It was not possible to spot two teenagers going together as in those concerts perform by pop divas.

The VIPs: Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri Dr. Fong Chan Onn, and Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Dr. Ng Yen Yen were there too.

The ice-creams and the luminous devices were not salable. Don’t forget, most audience was senior people and staying focus – of listening to the songs – was most important. The unique thing was that at 8:15 p.m. the crowds were still coming in.

The Songs

At 8:20 p.m., our Peter Pan of pop emerged at the stage and immediately, the crowds roared its approval with whistles and applauses. Strumming the stings of his guitar, he sang an up-tempo rock number that immediately engaged the attention of audience and charged up the full-housed audience. Yes, it was a full house.

He sang many of his favourite songs. He also sang in duet with his four back-up singers that each has his or her capability having similar voice as other famous singers.

In between songs, his fans – mainly ladies – presented bouquet of flowers to their idol. Sir Cliff Richard said: “I can open a flower shop.” With more flowers coming up from fans, he quipped, “I can open a bigger flower shop.” There were audiences who were from Canada, Hong Kong and Australia.

Then my favourite songs, Miss You Nights, was sung. Quarter way into the song, he began the next number, “Devil Woman”, followed by the “Young Ones” and then “We Don’t talk anymore” – four songs were sang in quick succession and compressed into the time of one song.

It is amazing that at 67 years old, he is still actively singing and performing in concerts. As quip by him, some thought that he was already dead.

Years may wrinkle his skin but his voice sounded exactly the same as though I was listening to his songs from the record albums. There is a quality of clarity about his voice, and it retains today a remarkable youthful quality of tone. His “ballad” voice is soft and confident while his “beat” voice is full-throated, exciting and spontaneous.

I love the song: Evergreen Trees. With the harmonica sound, it was wonderfully melodic and tuneful, this song nearly have made me weep. I used my binoculars and scanned his 10-piece band. To my surprise, none were playing harmonica. It must the synthesize sound.

His dressing in the first-half: in black and white. Even the shoes were in black and white that were shining in the spotlight.

At 9:20 p.m. – one hour later – he announced a short interval. The audience accepted his announcement with approval. That was understandable as he has been singing non-stop for one hour. It was a rare scene that the toilets were packed with audience. The queues overspill to outside of toilets.


At 10:40 p.m., he announced good night. The entire audience in the hall could not believe him and no body wanted to move. After 30 seconds, the sound of “WE WANT MORE” and “ENCORE” were heard. He then continued singing a few more songs again.

One of the songs that he has chosen was most appropriate: Peace In Our Time.

We've gotta have faith
To work it out
Faith and hope
Without any doubt…

He was energetic for the entire show; no sign of tiredness. At times, he was trying to do a bit of dance walk but the movements were not that smooth. No one was complaining – the audiences were there to listen to his songs and not seeing him dance. The audience was entertained and mesmerized by him in the two-and-a-half-hour show.

The Legend

On my way out, one scene touched my heart: I spotted a blind man was sitting next to his wife while waiting for the crowd to thin. Wow! The emotion of that sight was even stronger than seeing those fans that came in wheelchairs.

I have fulfilled my teenage dream to see the legendary Sir Cliff Richard in concert one day. I was not able to come with my uncle, Leong Ah Lee, a retired school teacher who always played Sir Cliff Richard’s songs during his younger days, and that his nephew later became a fan of this legend.

Sir Cliff Richard, we hope to see you in 3-4 years time. Please keep your promise. Wishing you the Bachelor Boy will always be the Evergreen Tree of our time – Stay ever green and young as the seasons go…


Note: all photos taken were blurred when Sir Cliff Richard was in action due to my unsteady hands. With pain in my heel, I think it is okay to go for concert and not running in the KLIM Circuit Run #2.


Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Pumping Iron

Next posting is on Monday 12 February evening.
Written by Moira

Introductory note by KC: With heel pain sustained during The EDGE Executive Rat Race in September 2006, looks like I am grounded. Speed kills – not only it is true on the road, it is also true to me in running. There will be no more runs for me temporarily.

While going through recovery period, here is my plan: I will spend time in gym cycling on stationary bikes and pumping iron to improve my outlook. The only equipment that I have to avoid like a plague is the treadmill. After years of running, I think I have neglected other parts of my body other then the legs – time to re-focus. With all the pumping of iron to look macho, who knows when I am back again on running, I will have to change my running vests from size L to XXL.

My first experience of going to gym many years ago was quite an eye opener. There was this muscular guy pumping iron and another went to help. I was cycling on the stationary bike and I had a full view of them. They were very close in proximity and in a suggestive pose, almost touching. I could feel my hairs standing on ends.

I have seen other macho guys who ran bare top or with specially designed vest that could reveal very much of their upper bodies. I presume after spending so much time in gym, it is an excellence idea to be admired by runners, particularly girl runners. Maybe I should consider taking off my shirt when taking photos next time – to show a bit also.

Below is an interesting and humorous story written by Moira trying to answer my naïve discovery. I was having a good laugh reading it. Her story is important to guys because the guys who spend lots of time and effort to look macho are supposed to attract girls but may end up attracting the same gender.


Shirtless: Yes - you should do it sometimes. Either all the girls will crowd really quickly around you or they will run away. Or the Pacesetters runners who know you well will think something is wrong and lend you a shirt.

In the gym, cycling (for the legs) and rowing (for the arms) and also the stepper or the cross country machine will be good for you temporarily whilst waiting for the foot to get healed. The stepper and cross country trainer is particularly great as it mimics the running bio-mechanics without the pounding that leads to all injuries under the sun. Who knows you might become soooo macho that girls will be surrounding you before you even know it! Ha ha ha ha ha

They are three types of personalities of gym-goers. First is the macho type with loads of muscles and always pumping some sort of iron and grunting and always looking in the mirror to see how good they look. They are usually without shirts or have very little cloth on them.
The "medium" type is like you and me: just use some of the machines (usually cardiovascular) and perhaps lift some light weights (usually we are well covered up).
Finally, the really blurrrr kind: those that have no idea what to do in the gym (for example, walk really slow on treadmill) and when they lift the weights we feel like we want to help for fear that they will injure themselves; or worse, injure us (by letting the free weights fall and drop on us).

Macho men in gyms are not afraid to touch one another. They spend all their spare time in the gym building up their muscles and since women don't really find these muscles attractive, these macho men have found other macho men to admire them. Next time, take note how they walk around near the mirrors admiring themselves.

I agree that the macho men have to look into the mirror when they pump iron to look at their own form so to prevent injury but these admiring looks continue after pumping iron. These macho men just love to help each other during the iron pumping and after that, assistance may then turn into admiration (ahem!)

You know guys go to the gym to try to meet girls but normal girls just want to get there and leave ASAP (as soon as possible) because we have a life besides the gym. For a normal girl, classes (kick boxing spinning or what-not) are the best; no need to think, just do so unless the guys is hanging around waiting before class; otherwise, there will be no chance for the guys to meet the girls.

Those girls who spend a lot of time sculpting their bodies like the macho man, Well! they don't want no normal man! They are either “tai tai” (wife) or someone's girlfriend (ahem!) or worse, they are would-be bodybuilders so they aren’t have no time to meet regular guys because these ladies have to pump their muscles! Anyway, the regular guys will be frightened off by these real fit ladies because their (the girls) muscles are bigger than the regular guys !! Ha ha ha ha
Footnote by KC: Being an ordinary runner, looks like I will forget about pumping iron in gym. I just have to stay focus in cycling while waiting for my heel to recover.

By Moira

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Great Eastern 30km - Fun Photos

All photos are extracted from Tey Eng Tiong's photo albums. He ran with his new Nikon dSLR to bring us happenings at the far end of the course. This is the last posting for GE30k Run.

Red wine or white wine, Sir?

Kenyan Drift: 3 fast 3 furious

No milk today? ... by Herman's Hermits

It's a long, long road ... (from Sri Hartamas to base)

Double Happiness - Auspicious for Chinese New Year

ER (emergency room) medical personnel in action?

A good start

Face/Off with SK Goh

By KC :-)

Monday, February 05, 2007

Great Eastern 30k - More Awards

Photos are selected from Chan Wing Kai's photo albums on GE30km Run.
Most Cheerful Runner Award

Most Incredible Runner Award

It is amazing that Crystal can run the 30km course barefoot. Next time when I happily complain that my leg pain is caused by lousy cushioning of the running shoes, I should remember of runners running barefoot.

Most Spiky-haired Runner Award

"Don't cry for me Argentina" Runner Award
So I chose freedom
Running around, trying everything new
But nothing impressed me at all
I never expected it to ... Don't cry for me Argentina ...
Bravo! Tey Eng Tiong has set a new standard in the Pacesetters running arena. He ran the recent Great Eastern 30km Run with his new toy -- Nikon dSLR.
Running with a compact camera is quite common but not a dSLR. Not only that a runner has to strengthen his legs, the hands must be strong. Otherwise, the dSLR unit is just like a hot potato due to its weight.
Formerly, he used to run full marathons with his film type dSLR. In Singapore International Marathon 2004, he took a photo of the KL Penguin Runners (with me inside) and I was really impressed with him.
So, next time when you see him zero-in on you, give your best smiles, will ya? The camera would have travelled with him for 40km to have an on-site photo shoot.
Most Skin-tight-pants Runner Award
Most Dashing Runner Award
Most Hair-raising Runner Award

By KC ... :-)

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Climbing Klang Gate Ridge

Please click here to view the final photo album (202 photos) on GE30km taken by Tey Eng Tiong.
Alternatively, please click here to take you to Pacesetters Club Photo Albums for complete listing of photos albums (maintains by yours truly).
To read the first installment on climbing Klang Gate, please click at the November 2006 Archives (on the left sidebar of this weblog). Scroll down to date 16 November 2006.
It was 6:15 a.m. on Saturday 3 February and I was early. This time, I was not waiting for other runners at Bukit Aman car park to start the 20km training run. Instead, I was standing in front of a Petronas petrol station along MRR2 (Middle Ring Road 2).

The petrol station was about 100 meters away from the main road. Standing at the vacant land, I could see the full moon high up in the sky. It was a fine morning with gentle breeze blowing. I could feel the coolness – a sign that Chinese New Year is drawing near every day.

At 6:45 a.m. sharp – the schedule meeting time for trekkers – I saw a huge Pajero was approaching. From the available lights shining on the windscreen, I could see Wendy’s cheerful and smiling face while driving the V6 3000 c.c. vehicle.

I greeted Wendy and I wanted to tell her excitedly about the moon. My concentration was shifted after spotting her with a new baby-doll hairstyle with straight cut at both sides. What came out from my mouth, to my horror, instead of the moon, it became “the sun”.

Hearing the passengers laughed, I noticed that there were three other trekkers in the MPV. They were part of the team members who are supposed to go for a 14-day trekking in Nepal in May 2007. There will be a series of trekking trips to get use to the tough conditions and also a means to get fit.


Chef Chan

Chan joined me in the 20km training run last Sunday. He has run full marathon about ten times before. He being an avid trekker, I asked him to come along. A thirty-something cheerful guy, he is working as a chef in a leading 5-star hotel in Kuala Lumpur.

At 7:00 a.m. there was still no sign of him. When I telephoned him, I heard the cocks’ crow in the background which meant he was at a different location. With a fine tuning of the exact location, he appeared just within five minutes. He came with another friend, Onn Chiun. The name sounds like “safety” in Cantonese. A twenty-something guy; he is another chef specializing in BBQ in the same hotel.

While Wendy, Mary, Mr. Ee, Mr. Ooi and I were wearing thick long pants, both of them were wearing shorts while Chef Chan was wearing the dark blue running shorts with Pacesetters logo. Just one look, we know they were strong trekkers will huge thigh muscle.

The Ascent

We started the climb at 7:05 a.m. when the sun just came out. This time, we climbed the other ridge where we have to pass by a stream and followed two huge water pipes of three feet in diameter serving water to Klang Valley.

The initial ascent was steep. A trekker needed both hands to pull the body up while holding to any available roots or rocks that could give a firm grip. Wearing garden glove would be a good idea to protect the hands, unfortunately, I totally forgot about it.

Compared to the previous climb of the ridge opposite, this ridge contains about 75% earth with gravel and loose sand while the rest is rocks and very little quartz. The loose earth makes ascents and descents dangerous. We were really careful not to slip.


There was one area of almost vertical climb of about 50 feet only made possible with the help of rope. Climbing at that slope has to be done one person at a time. Otherwise, it would like raining loose earth on the trekkers below or worst still, the rope may give way due to the weight.

There were three peaks to climb and our mission was to reach the highest peak. At the other lower peaks, I could feel the cool breeze blowing with plants swaying gently just like they were welcoming our presence. The air was fresh and the breeze, refreshing. Oh, I loved that moment there! After a while, it gave me a chilled feeling donning the wet T-shirt which I was sweating profusely earlier. Looking down, on my left was the water catchments area and my right, the civilization – Taman Malawati and Kuala Lumpur in a distance.


At the Peak

We reached the peak after a hard climb for about 1.5 hours. The flat surface was quite comfortable to accommodate us while we relaxed and prepared our food. Wendy brought her mobile gas stove and started boiling water and making drinks for everyone. Chef Chan also brought along another bigger mobile gas stove. He was demonstrating his fry kueh teow skill at the peak. Due to difficulty in transporting food stuff, he was just cooking Maggie mee there. I could hear them requesting for extra ingredients like “see hum” (cockle) and “hor chien” (oyster).

Drinking tea, admiring the scenic surrounding and enjoying the cool gentle breeze at the peak – it was indeed a simple pleasure in life.


The Descent

On the way down, I was leading the pack and chatting with Chef Chan about Duathlon and trekking. I was not focus and lead the pack going down wrong path. It was Onn Chiun who was standing at higher ground to realize the mistake. Otherwise, we could be spending extra hours in the jungle – much like going extra miles in running. Immediately, it reminded me of the trekking trip in Kuching in May 2006 where we climbed Mount Santubong after our Kuching marathon. I was leading the pack and went to the wrong trail. Yeah, I still need to learn to be able to distinguish the correct trail.


The irony of climbing a hill with steep slope was that it takes a lot of strength and energy to climb up. But the descent was not easy either. Though much less energy is required, the sight of looking almost vertically downwards does give a little scared feeling.

We all reached the plain safely at around 10:15 a.m. While crossing the steam, it was indeed an experience to clean myself with water from the stream, mimicking what a trekker will do in the actual trekking in Nepal.